Lifespan Faith Development and Zoom by DLRE Leann

Hi everyone, these past 2 months have really been a huge learning curve for all of us. Few of you probably know this, but after teaching in Racine Unified and Union Grove, then living in Scotland, I went to Art School at UWM. I was a graphic design and film major, with a goal of creating moving graphics for TV and film. Then, during my last year, I got pregnant with twins and that career goal was scrapped! Who knew because of Zoom and a pandemic in 2020 I’d become the film tech I wanted to be in 2003!

Although I’m busy assisting with Sunday Services, Religious Education is still in full swing. These past two months I’ve been having Children’s RE Zoomtime with the K-6th graders on both Thursday and Sunday at 11am. There have been children in attendance each and every week, and we’ve done a combination of lessons and games. Some days, I don’t feel like hanging with children for an hour on Thursday morning, but after I do, my mood brightens and I’m happy I have the opportunity to maintain contact with these joyful children.

Besides Zoomtime, I’ve created weekly online RE lessons for both elementary and middle/high school levels, intended to give families the opportunity to continue Religious Education at home. You can find the webpage here.

As I do this time of year, I’m planning for the future, and now that we know that the church won’t be open until 2021, what a different church year it will be. I keep thinking about the Christmas pageant. What will that look like on Zoom? Thankfully, I have a lot of time to figure that out, and figure it out I will.

One huge change is Summer RE, I was in the process of writing a curriculum called “Desserts Around the World,” when the pandemic hit. That curriculum is filled with weekly cooking and learning about different cultures. I know the children and teen assistants were really looking forward to it since we had so much fun cooking last summer. Cooking on Zoom, although possible, becomes a cooking show, so I decided to write a new curriculum for Summer RE. It’s a Zoomtime Summer RE curriculum centered around learning from animals. Middle and high school youth have been invited to be “teaching assistants” and the younger children will participate in a lesson that includes a story, video, and an at-home activity that we’ll do together (with a teen assistant leading). A supply box of materials will be sent to children’s homes at the beginning of the month. Summer RE begins June 14, 2020 and will end August 30, 2020. If you watch the Summer Religious Education section of the website you’ll be able to see what we’re up to this summer. Even families that don’t participate in Zoomtime can use the lessons at home.

My plans for fall, include:
Middle and High School Zoom RE using a curriculum to teach social justice with episodes from the old television series “The Twilight Zone.” Discussions after watching the episodes together will focus on social issues, values, right of conscience, cause and effect, and taking a stand. As someone who grew up watching reruns of this show, I’m looking forward to delving into it with our youth.

Children’s RE will be Sunday only and pretty much like it’s been the past two months, with a lesson, wondering questions, activities, and games. I also plan on continuing mailing supplies to families.

Adult RE workshops will be back and on Zoom. We’ll be offering two different classes. The first which should begin in August is “Hindsight, Humor, and Hope: Who, Me, an Elder?” This class invites participants to develop deeper understanding and appreciation of their elder stage of life and the path they traveled to reach it. Beginning in October will be “Spirit in Practice.” Spirit in Practice focuses on eight spheres of holistic and wholehearted spiritual practices. These eight spheres are: personal spiritual practices, communal worship practices, spiritual partnerships, mind practices, body practices, soul practices, life practices and justice practices. Stay tuned for sign-ups!

So, keep in mind, although RE is being held on Zoom until the church opens, we are still having RE on a weekly basis. RE is still happening, the church building is just closed, and there’s a lot of mailing going on.